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Ranked: The Top 25 Islands to Visit in 2022

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Ranked: The Top 25 Islands to Visit in 2022

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Ranked: The Top 25 Islands to Visit in 2022

After a pandemic-induced slump, travel is finally started to pick up again in many parts of the world. After years of waiting, where are people itching to go to on their next vacation?

This graphic uses survey data from Travel + Leisure (T+L) magazine to highlight the 25 top-ranked islands to visit around the world.

Methodology of the World’s Best Awards

Before diving in, it’s worth summarizing the methodology and briefly explaining how T+L compiled their findings. Each year, T+L conducts an annual global survey that uncovers the top travel experiences worldwide.

In the survey, readers were asked to rate a range of things, including their favorite islands to visit. Islands were rated based on a few categories, including:

  • Activities and sights
  • Natural attractions and beaches
  • Food
  • Friendliness
  • Overall value

Each category was given a score of excellent, above average, average, below average, or poor. From there, each island’s final tally was calculated, based on the average scores across all categories. Below, we’ll dive into the 2022 rankings based on these scores.

The 5 Top-Ranked Islands to Visit

At the top of the list, there’s a good mix of European, Asian, and South Pacific islands. Here’s a look at the top five islands, along with some context that explains why respondents ranked them so highly:

1. Ischia, Italy

Nestled in the gulf of Naples about an hour away from the mainland, this charming volcanic island takes first place because of its charming villages, pristine beaches, and welcoming locals.

It’s also well-known for its hot springs, which are easily accessible by either taxi or public transport.

2. The Maldives

Famous for its baby-blue waters, respondents ranked the Maldives as their second-favorite island destination. Located in the Indian Ocean, this collection of islands is well-known for stunning beaches, as well as excellent snorkeling and diving. With a wide range of luxury resorts, the Maldives is also a popular honeymoon destination.

3. Bali, Indonesia

This Indonesia island ranks third on the list because of its picturesque natural beauty, rich culture, and a diverse range of outdoor activities like surfing, diving, and hiking. It’s also well-known for its art, music, and traditional dance performances. As the only predominantly Hindu province in Indonesia, visitors get a chance to learn more about Balinese Hinduism.

4. Milos, Greece

Located in the Aegean Sea, Milos is well-loved by visitors because of its tranquil beaches. And while the island is a popular tourist destination, it offers a slightly slower pace that its neighbors Santorini or Mykonos.

5. Fiji Islands

This remote group of islands in the South Pacific Ocean ranked fifth on the list because of their rich marine life and friendly locals. Well-known for its excellent diving, it’s been labeled the “soft coral capital of the world.”

Top Ranking Islands, by Region

Seven of the top 25 island destinations are in Europe, making it first on the list by region. Southeast Asia comes in close second, with six islands in the top 25.

Region# of Top 25 Islands
Europe7
Southeast Asia6
The Caribbean3
North America3
Pacific Ocean2
Oceania2
South Asia1
South America1

As the data shows, a majority of the islands rank highly because of their beautiful beaches and thriving marine life.

However, there are a couple of outliers on the list. One good example of an outlier is Mackinac Island, which is well-loved for its historical attractions (Mackinac Island is home to a colonial fort built in the 18th century).

One thing is clear from these rankings—whether you’re a diver, a history buff, or a foodie, there are a number of world-class island destinations that offer an experience of a lifetime.

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Politics

Charted: The Number of Democracies Globally

How many democracies does the world have? This visual shows the change since 1945 and the top nations becoming more (and less) democratic.

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Charted: The Number of Democracies Globally

The end of World War II in 1945 was a turning point for democracies around the world.

Before this critical turning point in geopolitics, democracies made up only a small number of the world’s countries, both legally and in practice. However, over the course of the next six decades, the number of democratic nations would more than quadruple.

Interestingly, studies have found that this trend has recently reversed as of the 2010s, with democracies and non-democracies now in a deadlock.

In this visualization, Staffan Landin uses data from V-DEM’s Electoral Democratic Index (EDI) to highlight the changing face of global politics over the past two decades and the nations that contributed the most to this change.

The Methodology

V-DEM’s EDI attempts to measure democratic development in a comprehensive way, through the contributions of 3,700 experts from countries around the world.

Instead of relying on each nation’s legally recognized system of government, the EDI analyzes the level of electoral democracy in countries on a range of indicators, including:

  • Free and fair elections
  • Rule of law
  • Alternative sources of information and association
  • Freedom of expression

Countries are assigned a score on a scale from 0 to 1, with higher scores indicating a higher level of democracy. Each is also categorized into four types of functional government, from liberal and electoral democracies to electoral and closed autocracies.

Which Countries Have Declined the Most?

The EDI found that numerous countries around the world saw declines in democracy over the past two decades. Here are the 10 countries that saw the steepest decline in EDI score since 2010:

CountryDemocracy Index (2010)Democracy Index (2022)Points Lost
🇭🇺 Hungary0.800.46-34
🇵🇱 Poland0.890.59-30
🇷🇸 Serbia0.610.34-27
🇹🇷 Türkiye0.550.28-27
🇮🇳 India0.710.44-27
🇲🇱 Mali0.510.25-26
🇹🇭 Thailand0.440.20-24
🇦🇫 Afghanistan0.380.16-22
🇧🇷 Brazil0.880.66-22
🇧🇯 Benin0.640.42-22

Central and Eastern Europe was home to three of the countries seeing the largest declines in democracy. Hungary, Poland, and Serbia lead the table, with Hungary and Serbia in particular dropping below scores of 0.5.

Some of the world’s largest countries by population also decreased significantly, including India and Brazil. Across most of the top 10, the “freedom of expression” indicator was hit particularly hard, with notable increases in media censorship to be found in Afghanistan and Brazil.

Countries Becoming More Democratic

Here are the 10 countries that saw the largest increase in EDI score since 2010:

CountryDemocracy Index (2010)Democracy Index (2022)Points Gained
🇦🇲 Armenia0.340.74+40
🇫🇯 Fiji0.140.40+26
🇬🇲 The Gambia0.250.50+25
🇸🇨 Seychelles0.450.67+22
🇲🇬 Madagascar0.280.48+20
🇹🇳 Tunisia0.400.56+16
🇱🇰 Sri Lanka0.420.57+15
🇬🇼 Guinea-Bissau0.410.56+15
🇲🇩 Moldova0.590.74+15
🇳🇵 Nepal0.460.59+13

Armenia, Fiji, and Seychelles saw significant improvement in the autonomy of their electoral management bodies in the last 10 years. Partially as a result, both Armenia and Seychelles have seen their scores rise above 0.5.

The Gambia also saw great improvement across many election indicators, including the quality of voter registries, vote buying, and election violence. It was one of five African countries to make the top 10 most improved democracies.

With the total number of democracies and non-democracies almost tied over the past four years, it is hard to predict the political atmosphere in the future.

Want to know more about democracy in today’s world? Check out our global breakdown of each country’s democratic score in Mapped: The State of Global Democracy in 2022.
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